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using your Olympus OM-D with Four Thirds or manual focus lenses

see also:

these tips are largely applicable to other MFT cameras such as the Olympus E-PL5, E-PL6, E-P3, E-M5, E-M10 and E-M1


  • the Olympus OM-D E-M1 is already optimised for fast AF with Four Thirds lenses so many of the following points may not apply as much to it.
  • the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and E-M10 are Micro Four Thirds system cameras optimised for use with a catalogue of Micro Four Thirds lenses BUT ARE NOT optimised for Four Thirds lenses
    • however, by using an adapter such as the Olympus MMF-3 weatherproof adapter, you can mount any Four Thirds lens.
    • you will have full aperture control and EXIF data recording
    • there are 2 main issues to overcome:
      • large lenses are not easily hand held with this small camera
        • this can be addressed by adding the HLD-6 battery holder grip - even with only the horizontal component on the camera, there is a big improvement in ergonomics with the larger and heavier lenses.
      • autofocus is generally slow unless the lens is optimised for CDAF which a few are
        • NB. this has been largely addressed in the Olympus OM-D E-M1 which has autofocus phase detection pixels on the sensor
  • lenses other than Four Thirds or Micro Four Thirds:
    • you can use almost any other lens ever made (see legacy lenses for mirrorless cameras) via an adapter but you will not have EXIF data recorded, no aperture control and no autofocus.
    • the settings below will also apply to using these lenses (except no AF functionality), however, you will need to set one extra item - the lens focal length for the image stabiliser
      • go to the IS mode settings
      • press INFO button once whilst in IS settings
      • change the focal length using the up down arrows to the ACTUAL focal length of the lens (ignoring crop factor)
      • NB. failure to do so will potentially mean all you images will be blurry if IS in ON!

optimising your E-M5 or E-M10 for faster focus use with non-CDAF Four Thirds lenses

optimise camera stability to reduce camera shake

  • turn off auto-sensing switching between EVF and LCD by holding down the EVF button then clicking the EVF button will toggle to using the EVF - holding the camera to your eye is much more stable and with heavy lenses, less stress on your arms.
  • ensure image stabiliser is turned on if not using a tripod

optimise AF with Four Thirds lenses

  • set Picture Mode = Vivid (gives faster AF)
  • do not use C-AF modes - use S-AF instead
  • turn off fulltime AF
  • avoid using dark filters such as ND or polarising filters
  • use Four Thirds lenses with CD-AF compatibility if possible

set camera to manual focus

  • half-press of the shutter activating AF will drive you crazy as focus lock can take a second or more, and perhaps never happen if your subject is low contrast or moving
  • thus set focus mode to MF
  • assign REC button to AFL/AEL function
    • this will allow you to get an instanteous AF lock similar to half-press the shutter without the half-press shutter having to be maintained - very handy indeed if you subject is not moving away or closer to you.
  • set AEL/AFL mode to S1/C2/M3
    • this is done on the menu system, cog wheels, AF/MF AEL/AFL
      • while you are there, ensure Full-time AF = Off and MF Assist is OFF (this may drive you crazy if you have it ON - but some may prefer having the magnified view displayed EVERY time you touch the manual focus of the lens)

enable half-press shutter image stabilisation activation

  • this is important when manual focus is being used as it helps stabilise the image while you are trying to gain accurate manual focus
  • in the Custom Menu, go to Release, then set Half Way Rls With IS = ON
  • NB. the E-M1 will automatically activate IS when you enter magnified view mode, whereas with the E-M5, you must also half-press the shutter to activate it

enable manual magnified view function

  • allocate Fn2 button to magnified view
  • by default this is already set to “MultiFunction” and thus by holding it down you can set it to Magnified View functionality, alternatively, set the button to Magnify via the menu system as for other buttons.
  • the default behaviour is that when you touch the shutter button to activate IS as above, you are automatically exited from magnified view mode - exactly what we don't want.
    • to enable concurrent activation of IS and legacy lens magnified view, we need to set one more menu item:
      • set LV Close Up Mode to mode 2 (this is under Custom Menu, Disp/PC)

enable manual focus peaking

Olympus E-M5 only (the others have focus peaking available)

  • unfortunately Olympus is yet to implement a manual focus peaking functionality in the E-M5 firmware despite the latest PEN and OM-D camera's having it.
  • not to worry, there is a work-around by using the ART filter 11 set to Keyline type II as follows:
  • 1st choose type II for Keyline:
    • press Menu button, slect Camera 1 then Picture Mode, right arrow then scroll down to the last item Key Line then right arrow again and choose II then press OK button to set it
  • Now alter some settings ready to save to My Settings 1 so this mode can easily be activated
    • set Picture Mode to Key Line
      • Menu, Camera 1, Picture Mode, scroll down to Key Line and hit the OK button (not the right arrow as before!)
    • optionally, to save card space, as you are not really interested in saving the Key Line jpeg file, set jpeg to smallest size (you cannot just save the RAW file in ART Filter mode), however, if you don't press the shutter button in this mode, this becomes irrelevant
      • Menu, Camera 1, image quality (the icon below Picture Mode) and for Still Picture set to SN + RAW
    • Set desired MF settings:
      • Menu, Cogs, AF Mode, Still Picture, right arrow then select MF
      • Menu, Cogs, AF Mode, MF Assist, right arrow and select OFF (you don't want enlarged view as well in peaking mode as this makes it difficult when using dedicated lenses, although the MF Assist plus peaking may still be a useful adjunct for legacy MF lenses as you have more control over when it is activated)
    • Save settings to MySet1
      • Menu, Camera 1, Reset/Myset, press OK, scroll down to MySet1, press OK, then choose Yes then OK
    • Set Fn1 button to MySet1
      • Menu, Cogs, Button/Dial, Button Function, set Fn1 Function item to MySet1 by right arrow then scroll to MySet1 then press OK
    • remember to go back and change all your settings to what you normally use
    • when you need focus peaking, just hold the Fn1 button and adjust the manual focus, then once focus is achieved as indicated by sharp black lines, release the Fn1 button to return to your normal settings

how to use these settings

manual focus using peaking

  • obtain approximate focus by rotating the lens manual focus ring
  • hold down Fn1 button (activates Keyline effect) while optionally half-pressing shutter (activates IS)
  • adjust focus until sharp black lines appear on your subject
  • you can now either:
    • fully press shutter button to take a Keyline jpeg + RAW image, or,
    • remove thumb from Fn1 to exit Keyline, then press shutter to take normal image according to your settings

manual focus using manually activated magnified view

  • obtain approximate focus by rotating the lens manual focus ring
  • press the Fn2 BRIEFLY ONCE to bring up the green MF area
  • whilst in green area selection view
    • arrow buttons move the area around the screen to select the area to be magnified
    • long press of OK button resets the magnified view to the central portion of the frame
    • short press of Fn2 changes to magnified view
    • long press of Fn2 exits magnified view
  • whilst in magnified view mode:
    • short press of OK button or Fn2 exits magnified view
    • rotating top dial changes the degree of magnification
  • half-press shutter to activate IS
  • adjust focus
  • you can now either:
    • take your shot by full press of shutter, or,
    • exit magnified view mode first by pressing Fn2 button again

single auto focus lock

  • optionally obtain approximate focus by rotating the lens manual focus ring (this may improve chances of AF lock occurring, especially for subjects that would otherwise be very out of focus at the current lens setting)
  • press REC button until AF lock occurs then release
  • optionally you can now adjust focus manually as above
  • take the photo as usual whenever you want
photo/olympusem5_fourthirds.txt · Last modified: 2015/01/16 01:13 by gary1

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